Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 56-11. Practices for Transportation Planning in Non-Metropolitan Areas

Rural communities traditionally have been underrepresented in transportation planning efforts by state DOTs. During the early to mid-2000s, there were significant efforts to document rural consultation efforts by state DOTs, with the goal of building relationships and communication between state DOTs and rural community leaders. The ultimate goal of these efforts was to create a more widely inclusive transportation planning and project development process, consistent with statutory language in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), as well as Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) joint planning regulations in 2003. Early research on state outreach to rural places identified the use of regional, rural planning entities as one effective practice for conducting local official consultation. Ultimately, these efforts culminated in the establishment of statutory language in the surface transportation bill Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) that enabled the establishment and designation of regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs). In addition, statewide and non-metropolitan planning language changed the relationship between states and rural local officials from “consultation” to “cooperation,” necessitating a higher level of communication. Between the date of this authorizing language and the current day, very few designated RTPOs have been established, even though over 30 states are using some form of RTPO-like entities, regardless of designation status, sometimes referred to as rural planning entities (RPEs). The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT practices for transportation planning in non-metropolitan areas.


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  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 56-11

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Wadsworth, Trey

  • Start Date: 20240531
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01920389
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 56-11
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 31 2024 8:29PM